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Archive for November, 2010

What Has Happened to The Southern Poverty Law Center? Labels Groups That Do Not Support Gay Marriage or Have a Biblical View of Homosexuality as a Hate Groups

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on November 29, 2010

      

As an attorney I had enormous respect for the Southern Poverty Law Center which fought against injustice and racism in our country. But now they have taken the hate groups labeling to an extreme and if you believe marriage is between one man and one woman and that the Bible does not condone homosexuality, then you are a hater and part of a hate group. This is unfortunate that they have taken such a turn and are now fighting groups that support the biblical view of marriage. They claim “scientific research” to support their views but have a hard time believing that this research is valid and not skewed to come up with a specific results. Christians should never hate homosexuals, but show them the love of Christ. But to throw around labels of hate crimes and take away religious freedoms because of it was never the intention of our Founders.  The following is an excerpt from their Web site where they have labeled 18 groups hate groups because of these views:

FROM SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER WEB SITE:

Even as some well-known anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family moderate their views, a hard core of smaller groups, most of them religiously motivated, have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities. These groups’ influence reaches far beyond what their size would suggest, because the “facts” they disseminate about homosexuality are often amplified by certain politicians, other groups and even news organizations. Of the 18 groups profiled below, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) will be listing 13 next year as hate groups (eight were previously listed), reflecting further research into their views; those are each marked with an asterisk. Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.

*Abiding Truth Ministries
Springfield, Mass.

Abiding Truth Ministries serves mainly as a launching pad for an international anti-gay campaign. Its founder, Scott Lively, is also responsible for a book, widely cited by gay-bashers, accusing homosexuals of running the Nazi Party.

Lively first emerged as an anti-gay activist when he became communications director for the Oregon Citizens Alliance, which was backing that state’s notorious Measure 9 vote in 1992. The measure, which failed, would have added language to the state constitution listing homosexuality, along with pedophilia and masochism, as “abnormal behavior.” Lively later served as California director of the American Family Association, another particularly hard-line anti-gay group (see below).

Lively is best known for co-authoring, with Kevin Abrams, The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party. The book makes a series of claims that virtually no serious historian agrees with: that Hitler was gay, that “the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic homosexuals,” and that gays were especially selected for the SS because of their innate brutality. The claims are entirely false; in fact, the Nazis murdered significant numbers of gays and made homosexuality a death penalty offense in 1942. In the foreword, Abrams adds that homosexuality is “primarily a predatory addiction striving to take the weak and unsuspecting down with it. … They have no idea of how to act in the best interests of their country… . Their intention is to serve none but themselves.”

Lively has taken his message abroad to Eastern Europe (see Watchmen on the Walls, below), Africa and Russia. In a 2007 open letter to the Russian people, he asserted that “homosexuality is a personality disorder that involves various, often dangerous sexual addictions and aggressive, anti-social impulses.” In 2009, he went to Uganda to speak at a major conference on the evils of homosexuality, saying, among other things: “The gay movement is an evil institution. The goal of the gay movement is to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.” He also met with Ugandan lawmakers. A month after Lively left the country, a bill was introduced that called for the death penalty for certain homosexual acts and prison for those who fail to disclose gays’ identities.

In 2008, Lively started the Redemption Gate Mission Society, a church that seeks to “re-Christianize” the city of Springfield, Mass., where he lives.

*American Family Association

Methodist minister Donald E. Wildmon formed the National Federation for Decency in 1977, changing its name to the American Family Association (AFA) in 1988. Today, the group, which was taken over by Tim Wildmon after his father’s 2010 retirement, claims a remarkable 2 million online supporters and 180,000 subscribers to its AFA Journal. It also broadcasts over nearly 200 radio stations.

The AFA seeks to support “traditional moral values,” but in recent years it has seemed to specialize in “combating the homosexual agenda.” In 2009, it hired Bryan Fischer, the former executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, as its director of analysis for government and policy. Taking a page from the anti-gay fabulist Scott Lively (see Abiding Truth Ministries, above), Fischer claimed in a blog post last May 27 that “[h]omosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” (Ironically, the elder Wildmon was widely denounced as an anti-Semite after suggesting that Jews control the media, which the AFA says “shows a genuine hostility towards Christians.”) Fischer has described Hitler as “an active homosexual” who sought out gays “because he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough.” He proposed criminalizing homosexual behavior in another 2010 blog post and has advocated forcing gays into “reparative” therapy. In a 2010 “action alert,” the AFA warned that if homosexuals are allowed to openly serve in the military, “your son or daughter may be forced to share military showers and barracks with active and open homosexuals.”

Gays aren’t the AFA’s only enemies. “Islam is a totalitarian political ideology,” Fischer said in August 2010. “It is as racist as the KKK. … Allowing a mosque to be built in town is fundamentally no different that granting a building permit to a KKK cultural center built in honor of some King Kleagle.” In late 2009, he suggested that all Muslims should be banned from joining the U.S. military.

And then there are the promiscuous. On his May 26, 2010, radio show, Fischer recounted the biblical story of Phineas, who used a spear to kill a man and a woman who were having sex. Citing the nation’s “rampant sexual immorality,” Fischer said, “God is obviously looking for more Phineases in our day.”

*Americans for Truth About Homosexuality

Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) was formed as a part-time venture in 1996 by long-time gay-basher Peter LaBarbera, who reorganized it in 2006 as a much more serious and influential, if often vicious, operation.

A one-time reporter for the conservative Washington Times, LaBarbera has been an energetic campaigner against “the radical homosexual agenda” since at least 1993, when he launched The Lambda Report, which claimed to do first-hand reporting to expose its gay enemies. Over the years, he has been an official with Accuracy in Media, Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council and the Illinois Family Institute (see below for the last three). He left the Illinois Family Institute, where he’d been executive director, in 2006.

AFTAH is notable for its posting of the utterly discredited work of Paul Cameron (of the Family Research Institute; see below), who has claimed that gays and lesbians live vastly shorter lives than heterosexuals. Among the Cameron propaganda published by AFTAH are 2007 claims that gays and lesbians in Norway and Denmark live 24 fewer years than heterosexuals. Reviewing that claim, Danish epidemiologist Morten Frisch found that it had no scientific basis. LaBarbera himself, in 2002, compared the alleged dangers of homosexuality to those of “smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.” Similarly, AFTAH’s website carries essays describing homosexuality as a “lethal behavior addiction,” a “dangerous” practice that is “neither normal nor benign.”

In 2007, LaBarbera claimed there was “a disproportionate incidence of pedophilia” among gay men — yet another false assertion. The same year, he posted an open letter to the Lithuanian people from long-time gay-basher Scott Lively (see Abiding Truth Ministries, above), who has made a series of false claims about gays running the German Nazi Party. In the piece posted to the AFTAH website, Lively said homosexuals are trying to take away free speech from all opponents of gays and to silence all religious opinions on the matter.

The AFTAH site repeats bogus claims like the idea that a proposed bill in California would “promote cross-dressing, sex-change operations, bisexuality and homosexuality” to kindergartners and other children. And it ran an essay that falsely asserted that hate crime laws would “restrict our speech.”

*American Vision

Led since 1986 by Gary DeMar, American Vision is one of the primary exponents of the doctrine of “Christian Reconstruction” — the idea that the U.S. was founded as a “Christian nation” and that its democracy should be replaced with a theocratic government based on Old Testament law. As a practical matter, that means American Vision, which describes its goal as “restor[ing] America’s Biblical foundation,” backs the death penalty for practicing homosexuals.

DeMar has modified that dictum slightly in the past, saying that homosexuals wouldn’t all be executed under a “reconstructed” government, but that he did believe that the occasional execution of “sodomites” would serve society well because “the law that requires the death penalty for homosexual acts effectively drives the perversion of homosexuality underground, back into the closet.” More recently, while hosting American Vision’s “The Gary DeMar Show” in December 2009, Joel McDurmon, the group’s research director, agreed that the Bible does call for killing homosexuals. And, he said, “when most of a society is Christian, is biblical, then it [execution of gays] is perfectly normal; it should definitely be in place.”

In April 2009, DeMar said: “Homosexuals aren’t content with only having the bedroom. They have taken their perversion into the classrooms, teaching that such practices are normal. There is nothing normal about what homosexuals do.”

DeMar, who was closely allied with the late D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries (see below), is a central figure in Reconstruction theology, which was founded by R.J. Rushdoony (see Chalcedon Foundation, below). He is co-author of Christian Reconstruction: What It Is, What It Isn’t with Gary North.

DeMar has also said that a “long-term goal” should be “the execution of abortionists and their parents.” Islam is another enemy, he said in August 2010: “The long-term goal of Islam is the abolition of our constitutional freedoms.”

*Chalcedon Foundation
Vallecito, Calif.

The Chalcedon Foundation, named after a 451 A.D. council that proclaimed the state’s subservience to God, was started in 1965 by Rousas John Rushdoony, who is known as “father of Christian Reconstruction” theology. Led by Rushdoony’s son, Mark, since the elder Rushdoony’s death in 2001, the foundation continues to push for the imposition of Old Testament law on America and the world.

Reconstruction, as described in R.J. Rushdoony’s foundational 1973 book The Institutes of Biblical Law, is opposed to modern notions of equality, democracy or tolerance — instead, it embraces the most draconian of religious views. Rushdoony supported the death penalty for homosexuals, among other “abominators.” He also opposed what he called “unequal yoking” — interracial marriage — and “enforced integration,” insisting that “[a]ll men are NOT created equal before God” (the Bible, he explained, “recognizes that some people are by nature slaves”). Rushdoony also denied the Holocaust, saying the murder of 6 million Jews was “false witness.”

Rushdoony’s Reconstruction is indeed radical, even including “incorrigible children” among those deserving death. And virtually all of his works remain for sale on the Chalcedon Foundation website.

Today, most fundamentalist leaders deny holding such views. But a Who’s Who of the religious right — including Tim and Beverly LaHaye (see Concerned Women for America, below), Donald Wildmon (American Family Association, above), and the late D. James Kennedy (Coral Ridge Ministries, below) — once served alongside the elder Rushdoony on the Coalition for Revival, a group formed in 1984 to “reclaim America.” Rushdoony reportedly was also a member of the secretive Council of National Policy, a group of archconservative leaders.

Christian Anti-Defamation Commission
Vista, Calif.

Originally incorporated in 1999 by retired Army Gen. William Hollis, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC) says its goal is to serve as a “first line of response to anti-Christian defamation, bigotry and discrimination.” It was largely inactive until 2007, when it brought in as its new leader the Rev. Gary Cass, who claims that Christian-bashing, “the last acceptable form of bigotry in America, is alive and well and growing more intense and hysterical by the day.”

The CADC is heavily focused on the alleged evils of homosexuality. It has called the idea of allowing gays to serve openly in the military “evil”; opposed hate crimes legislation (which many religious-right groups falsely assert would make it easy to send pastors to prison for condemning homosexuality); and raged against a judge’s overturning of California’s Proposition 8, which had invalidated same-sex marriages. With regard to that last, it said: “Homosexuals have turned away from humbly worshipping the true and living God and his transcendent moral order in order to make an idol out of their sexual perversion and chaos.”

The group also has protested a lawsuit seeking to end public use of the motto, “In God We Trust”; encouraged the IRS to investigate the anti-theocratic Americans United for Separation of Church and State; and opposed a proposed Islamic center in New York City, saying Muslims “are exploiting the liberty we afford them to honor a murderous ideology that denies religious liberty every where [sic] it can.”

Although it is somewhat benign by comparison, the CADC has an advisory board that includes some of the country’s most hard-line anti-gay activists: Lou Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition (see below); Donald Wildmon, the founder of the American Family Association (above); and O’Neal Dozier, a pastor who wrote in his 2008 book that “[h]omosexuality not only spreads disease and neutralizes God’s command,” but also “destroys families.” The board also includes Carmen Mercer, a former top official of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a now-defunct nativist group that once ran its own armed civilian border patrols.

Concerned Women for America
Washington, D.C
.

San Diego, Calif., activist Beverly LaHaye, whose husband Tim would go on to become famous as co-author of the Left Behind novels depicting the end times, started Concerned Women for America (CWA) in 1979 to create an anti-feminist group that matched the power of the National Organization for Women. Today, CWA claims more than 500,000 members organized into state chapters, a radio program that reaches more than 1 million listeners, and a cadre of attorneys and researchers devoted to the group’s mission of promoting biblical values.

LaHaye has blamed gay people for a “radical leftist crusade” in America and, over the years, has occasionally equated homosexuality with pedophilia. In 2001, she hired prominent anti-gay propagandists Robert Knight (now with Coral Ridge Ministries; see below) and Peter LaBarbera (now with Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, above) to launch CWA’s Culture and Family Institute. Matt Barber was CWA’s policy director for cultural issues in 2007 and 2008 before moving on to similar work with the Liberty Counsel (below).

While at CWA, on April 12, 2007, Barber suggested against all the evidence that there were only a “miniscule number” of anti-gay hate crimes and most of those “may very well be rooted in fraudulent reports.” In comments that have since disappeared from CWA’s website, Barber demanded a federal probe of “homosexual activists” for their alleged fabrications of hate crime reports.

CWA long relied on and displayed Knight’s articles and talking points, including claims that “homosexuality carries enormous physical and mental health risks” and “gay marriage entices children to experiment with homosexuality.” Most remarkably, Knight cited the utterly discredited work of Paul Cameron (see Family Research Institute, below) to bolster claims that homosexuality is harmful.

Today, CWA continues to make arguments against homosexuality on the basis of dubious claims. President Wendy Wright said this August that gay activists were using same-sex marriage “to indoctrinate children in schools to reject their parents’ values and to harass, sue and punish people who disagree.” Last year, CWA accused the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a group that works to stop anti-gay bullying in schools, of using that mission as a cover to promote homosexuality in schools, adding that “teaching students from a young age that the homosexual lifestyle is perfectly natural … will [cause them to] develop into adults who are desensitized to the harmful, immoral reality of sexual deviance.”

Coral Ridge Ministries
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The late Rev. D. James Kennedy started turning fundamentalist Coral Ridge Presbyterian into a mega-church in the 1960s, adding Coral Ridge Ministries (CRM) as its action arm in 1974 and claiming some 10,000 members by the 1990s. During the fiscal year ending in June 2009, CRM raised almost $18 million and spent more than $6 million of that on television and radio outreach efforts.

Over the years, Kennedy emphasized anti-gay rhetoric, particularly in his TV ministry. He recommended as “essential” the virulent work of R.J. Rushdoony (see Chalcedon Foundation, above), who believed practicing gays should be executed. In an especially nasty 1989 edition of a CRM newsletter, Kennedy ran photographs of children along with the tagline, “Sex With Children? Homosexuals Say Yes!”

After Kennedy died in 2007, Coral Ridge Presbyterian seemed to change course, merging in 2009 with New City Presbyterian Church under its pastor, Tullian Tchividjian, a grandson of evangelist Billy Graham. Tchividjian began to move the church away from divisive social issues; some 500 members of Coral Ridge, including Kennedy’s daughter, left as a result. Today, Tchividjian says that the church, with 2,400 congregants, is entirely separate from CRM.

CRM, however, has continued its hard-line course. In 2009, it hired anti-gay activist Robert Knight as a senior writer and Washington, D.C., correspondent. Knight has used the work of discredited researcher Paul Cameron (see Family Research Institute, below). In one recent essay on the CRM website, he argued against allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military, saying that “Bible-believing Christians would quickly find themselves unwelcome in Barney Frank’s new pansexual, cross-dressing military.” (Hector Padron, CRM’s executive vice president, wrote last May that such a change would post a “grave threat to the military.”)

In 2002, before joining CRM, Knight wrote that gay marriage “entices children to experiment with homosexuality” and that accepting homosexuality leads to “a loss of stability in communities, with a rise in crime, sexually transmitted diseases and other social pathologies. Still another is a shortage of employable, stable people.”

*Dove World Outreach Center
Gainesville, Fla.

The Dove World Outreach Center was founded in 1986 by Don Northrup and described itself as a “total concept church” in which all would be served. But Northrup died in 1996, and his successor brought in long-time Northrup associate Terry Jones as Dove’s leader in 2001. Since then, Jones has spouted increasingly vicious attacks on gays and Muslims, culminating in a plan that drew worldwide condemnation this September to hold an “International Burn a Koran Day.”

Jones and his family had spent some 20 years in Cologne, Germany, running a church that was allied with Dove. When he was asked to take over the Gainesville church, he apparently divided his time between the two until 2008, when the Cologne church was closed amid criticism of Jones by its congregants.

Jones pushed himself into the headlines last March, when he surrounded Dove with signs aimed at Craig Lowe, a Gainesville city commissioner who was running for mayor, that said “No Homo Mayor.” After an electioneering complaint was filed with the IRS (nonprofit churches cannot intervene in political campaigns), Jones had the signs shortened to the more generic “No Homo.” At one point, Jones and 30 of his congregants joined an anti-gay rally by the Westboro Baptist Church, which runs the Godhatesfags.com website and regularly pickets the funerals of U.S. soldiers, saying God is killing soldiers because America is a “fag-enabling” nation.

Jones is also the author of a book entitled Islam is of the Devil, and he has used that phrase on another set of signs posted around his church and sent his followers’ children to school in T-shirts bearing that slogan. (The school refused to let the children wear the shirts, and the ACLU filed suit against it as a result.) He regularly repeats the phrase on his “Braveheart Show,” an Internet video program where he asserted last April that “[h]omosexuality makes God throw up.”

Jones and his tiny congregation became momentarily famous this September, when he said he would burn Korans to protest Islam, which he describes as “an evil religion.” The threat drew public condemnation from Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and several leading members of the Obama Administration, and sparked anti-U.S. rallies in Muslim countries. In the end, Jones withdrew his threat and rapidly sank back into political obscurity.

*Faithful Word Baptist Church
Tempe, Ariz.

Steven Anderson, formerly affiliated with Sacramento, Calif.-based Regency Baptist Church, started Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona on Christmas Day 2005 as a “totally independent” organization. With “well over a hundred chapters of the Bible memorized word-for-word,” Anderson quickly led his congregation into a series of extremely radical stands.

Much of his venom was aimed at homosexuals, who he suggests should be killed (“The biggest hypocrite in the world is the person who believes in the death penalty for murderers but not for homosexuals”). In an August 2009 sermon, he attacked the United Methodist Church, saying “10% of their preachers are queers” and adding, “they got a dyke and a faggot behind the pulpit.” He has described gays as “sodomites” who “recruit through rape” and “recruit through molestation.”

Anderson is also a virulent government hater. As operator of the True Sons of Liberty website, the pastor calls for abolishing the IRS, the Federal Reserve, Social Security and Child Protective Services state agencies. In April 2009, he refused to get out of his car or answer questions from Border Patrol agents at the California-Arizona border. Agents broke his window and tased him as a result.

Anderson brought his church national notoriety in August 2009, when a member of his congregation, Christopher Broughton, went to an Obama appearance in Phoenix legally carrying an assault rifle and a pistol. It turned out that Jones had preached a day earlier to Broughton and others that he “hates Obama” and would “pray that he dies and goes to hell.” Two weeks later, he told openly gay columnist Michelangelo Signorile that he “would not judge or condemn” anyone who killed the president. Then, for good measure, he told Signorile at the end of the interview, “If you’re a homosexual, I hope you get brain cancer and die like Ted Kennedy.”

*Family Research Council
Washington, D.C.

Started as a small think tank by Gary Bauer, the former U.S. undersecretary of education under Ronald Reagan, the Family Research Council (FRC) merged with the much larger religious-right group Focus on the Family in 1988. Bauer lobbied on behalf of Focus until 1992, when the two groups legally separated to protect Focus’ tax-exempt status. By that time, FRC had become a powerful group on its own.

Headed today by former Louisiana State Rep. Tony Perkins, the FRC has been a font of anti-gay propaganda throughout its history. It relies on the work of Robert Knight, who also worked at Concerned Women for America but now is at Coral Ridge Ministries (see above for both), along with that of FRC senior research fellows Tim Dailey (hired in 1999) and Peter Sprigg (2001). Both Dailey and Sprigg have pushed false accusations linking gay men to pedophilia: Sprigg has written that most men who engage in same-sex child molestation “identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual,” and Dailey and Sprigg devoted an entire chapter of their 2004 book Getting It Straight to similar material. The men claimed that “homosexuals are overrepresented in child sex offenses” and similarly asserted that “homosexuals are attracted in inordinate numbers to boys.”

More recently, in March 2008, Sprigg, responding to a question about uniting gay partners during the immigration process, said: “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them.” He later apologized, but then went on, last February, to tell MSNBC host Chris Matthews, “I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions on homosexual behavior.” “So we should outlaw gay behavior?” Matthews asked. “Yes,” Sprigg replied. At around the same time, Sprigg claimed that allowing gay people to serve openly in the military would lead to an increase in gay-on-straight sexual assaults.

Perkins has his own unusual history. In 1996, while managing the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican State Rep. Louis “Woody” Jenkins of Louisiana, Perkins paid $82,500 to use the mailing list of former Klan chieftain David Duke. The campaign was fined $3,000 (reduced from $82,500) after Perkins and Jenkins filed false disclosure forms in a bid to hide the link to Duke. Five years later, on May 17, 2001, Perkins gave a speech to the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group that has described black people as a “retrograde species of humanity.” Perkins claimed not to know the group’s ideology at the time, but it had been widely publicized in Louisiana and the nation. In 1999, in fact, GOP chairman Jim Nicholson urged Republicans to quit the group over its “racist views.” A short time later, after an Intelligence Report exposé but before Perkins’ 2001 speech, Republican House Speaker Trent Lott was embroiled in a national scandal over his ties to the group.

*Family Research Institute
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Started in 1987 by psychologist Paul Cameron, the Family Research Institute (FRI) has become the anti-gay movement’s main source for what Cameron claims is “cutting-edge research” — but is, in fact, completely discredited junk science pushed out by a man who has been condemned by three professional organizations.

Over nearly three decades, Cameron has published “research studies” (though almost never in peer-reviewed journals) that suggest that homosexuals are predatory and diseased perverts who victimize children. Among his more recent defamations was an FRI pamphlet asserting the primary activity of the gay rights movement is “seeking to legitimize child-adult homosexual sex.” In another, he claimed that with “the rise of the gay rights movement, homosexual rape of men appears to have increased.” In yet another, he wrote, “Homosexuals were three times more likely to admit to having made an obscene phone call” and “a third more apt to report a traffic ticket or traffic accident in the past 5 years.”

Some of Cameron’s more infamous claims include the idea that homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals and that homosexuals have extremely short lives. Last February, he wrote on FRI’s website that “[i]f homosexuals are allowed to serve in the military, they will be recruiting in showers, having sex in the barracks… . Before long, the U.S. may be defended by the sex-obsessed and those who can tolerate kowtowing to them.” After all, writes Cameron — a man who proposes that parents promote teen heterosexual activity to keep kids straight — “homosexual sex overwhelms rationality [and] overwhelms the desire to serve.”

Cameron’s colleagues have condemned him repeatedly. In 1983, he was thrown out of the American Psychological Association for ethical violations.  In 1984, the Nebraska Psychological Association disassociated itself from Cameron’s statements about sexuality. In 1985, the American Sociological Association adopted a resolution saying Cameron “has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality” and “repeatedly campaigned for the abrogation of the civil rights of lesbians and gay men”; the following year, the same group formally condemned Cameron for that misrepresentation of research.

Despite all this — and the fact that Cameron’s propaganda is widely known to be false or misleading — many groups have continued to use his claims, though often without citing their source. They include the American Family Association, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries, the Family Research Council (see above for all five) and, until recently, the Illinois Family Institute (see below).

*Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment
Downers Grove, Ill.

Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment (HOME) was founded by 62-year-old Wayne Lela, a former Catholic who now describes himself as an agnostic. Until recently, the 20-year-old group has had a fairly low profile.

The group, which is entirely focused on the alleged evils of homosexuality, attacks gay people on a wide variety of levels. But it keeps coming back to the idea that gay sexual activity should be illegal. “[P]enalizing people for engaging in homosexual behavior is clearly not discrimination, just like penalizing people for exhibitionism or incest is not discrimination,” HOME’s website says. In a second website comment, it adds, “[H]eterosexual activity is not illegalizeable … while homosexual activity is definitely illegalizeable.” And in a third, it insists that “legalizing homosexual deviations” leads to a “confused and sick society.”

HOME doesn’t stop there. It says that gays should apologize “for all the STDs [sexually transmitted diseases] they’ve spread, and all the money those STDs have cost, and especially for setting bad moral examples for our children.” It accuses homosexuals of having a “pathological attitude” toward the opposite sex. It says homosexuality shouldn’t have been removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental disorders. It says gays threaten free speech because they seek hate crime law protections. It argues that gay film directors are working to “condition men to bond with other men at the expense of women.” And it claims that pedophilia and necrophilia are a sexual orientations like homosexuality, going on to suggest that they could therefore be legalized.

And then there’s this: Freemasonry may be connected to “the homosexual movement,” with members evidently engaging in sodomy and “homosexual orgies.” Thus, HOME says, there is a “very real possibility that this group is using its influence to try to impose pro-homosexual ‘values’ on the public.”

*Illinois Family Institute
Carol Stream, Ill.

The Illinois Family Institute (IFI), which says it dedicates itself to issues surrounding “marriage, family, life and liberty,” is heavily focused on attacking gay people and homosexuality in general. It maintains “working partnerships” with other hard-line groups including the Family Research Council (see above) and the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal center based in Phoenix. In early 2010, it launched Illinois Family Action as a political-action sister organization.

Over the years, the group has occasionally embraced the groundless propaganda of Paul Cameron (see Family Research Institute, above). Until 2009, it carried an article on Cameron — “New Study Shows that Homosexuals Live 20 Fewer Years” — preceded by a full-throated endorsement from its then-executive director, Peter LaBarbera (see Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, above). “Paul Cameron’s work has been targeted for ridicule by homosexual activists, and he’s been demonized by the left,” LaBarbera wrote in his introduction, “but that should not discount his findings.” IFI also posted a video attacking school anti-bullying programs that claimed, based on Cameron, that gay men’s median age of death is 42. Both were removed in response to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s listing of IFI as a hate group, which was largely based on its use of Cameron.

That response, however, hardly indicated that the IFI was backing down on its hard-line position. This year, Focus on the Family — for years, the powerhouse of anti-gay religious organizations in America — moderated its position markedly after founder James Dobson retired and pastor Jim Daly took over. In April, Daly told an interviewer: “I will continue to defend traditional marriage, but I’m not going to demean human beings in the process. It’s not about being highly confrontational.” The response of Laurie Higgins, IFI’s belligerent director of school advocacy, was that Daly was showing “surprising naïveté,” using the same language as pro-gay “homosexualists,” and failing to confront “the pro-homosexual juggernaut.”

In 2009, Higgins compared homosexuality to Nazism, likening the German Evangelical Church’s weak response to fascism to the “American church’s failure to respond appropriately to the spread of radical, heretical, destructive views of homosexuality.” Elsewhere, Higgins has pined for the days when gays were in the closet. “There was something profoundly good for society about the prior stigmatization of homosexual practice… . [W]hen homosexuals were ‘in the closet,’ (along with fornicators, polyamorists, cross-dressers, and ‘transexuals’), they weren’t acquiring and raising children.” She’s also said that McDonald’s, because it ran a gay-friendly TV ad, is “hell bent on using its resources to promote subversive moral, social, and political views about homosexuality to our children.”

Liberty Counsel
Orlando, Fla.

Created in 1989, Liberty Counsel is affiliated with Liberty University Law School in Lynchburg, Va., a legacy of the late conservative icon Jerry Falwell. It was founded and is still chaired by Mathew (Mat) Staver, who also serves as director of the Liberty Center for Law and Policy at Liberty University, and provides legal assistance with regard to religious liberty, abortion and the family.

The organization may be best known for its campaigns to ensure that “public displays of religion” are maintained during the Christmas holiday, and it has adopted broad right-wing views, including the allegation that the Obama Administration has a “socialist liberal agenda.” But it also has focused heavily on anti-gay activism.

In 2009, J. Matt Barber, formerly with Concerned Women for America and Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (see above for both), joined Liberty Counsel as director of cultural affairs (also becoming Liberty University’s associate dean for career and professional development). A year earlier, Barber had argued that given “medical evidence about the dangers of homosexuality,” it should be considered “criminally reckless for educators to teach children that homosexual conduct is a normal, safe and perfectly acceptable alternative.”

The Counsel also has been active in battling same-sex marriage, saying it would destroy the “bedrock of society.” In 2005, the group’s blog said: “People who … support the radical homosexual agenda will not rest until marriage has become completely devalued. Children will suffer most from this debauchery.” A 2007 blog posting said same-sex marriage would “severely impact future generations.”

Like other anti-gay groups, Liberty Counsel argues that hate crime laws are “actually ‘thought crimes’ laws that violate the right to freedom and of conscience” — an opinion rejected by the Supreme Court. In fact, the laws raise penalties for crimes already on the books — assault, murder and so on — that were motivated by hatred of people based on their sexual orientation. They do not, and could not under the Constitution, punish people for voicing opinions.

Since 2006, Liberty Counsel has also run its “Change is Possible” campaign with Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays to protect people who say they’ve changed from gay to straight from “discrimination” by “intolerant homosexuals.”

*MassResistance

MassResistance, “the leading pro-family grassroots activist group in Massachusetts,” began life in 1995 as the Parents’ Rights Coalition, became the Article 8 Alliance in 2003, and took on its current name in 2006. Its leader, Brian Camenker, is a programmer who was an official of the Article 8 Alliance and also headed the Newton, Mass., chapter of the National Taxpayers’ Association.

As president of yet another group, the Interfaith Coalition of Massachusetts, Camenker spearheaded the drafting of a bill that passed in 1996 and required that parents be notified of any sex education in their children’s schools. That same year, Camenker claimed that suicide prevention programs aimed at gay youth actually were “put together by homosexual activists to normalize homosexuality.” Later, MassResistance charged that groups like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which support school anti-bullying programs, actually want to lure children into homosexuality and, very possibly, sadomasochism.

In 2006-2007, Mass-Resistance pushed for an amendment of the 1996 statute that would have required that parents be notified of any discussion of gay or lesbian issues in the schools. The group proposed language that lumped sexual orientation (which includes heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality) in with criminal behaviors like bestiality and polygamy. During legislative testimony supporting the amendment, Camenker falsely claimed that no homosexuals died in the Holocaust and that the pink triangle the Nazis forced imprisoned gays to wear actually signified Catholic priests. The amendment did not pass.

Camenker, who has long focused on the purported “homosexual agenda” in the schools and frequently claimed gays are dangerous to kids, has repeatedly cited discredited claims from organizations like the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality that link homosexuality and pedophilia.

In 2008, Camenker made another accusation for which there was no supporting evidence at all — the claim that the state of Massachusetts had had to spend more money every year since same-sex marriage became legal in that state. That, he said, was because of “skyrocketing homosexual domestic violence” and because of the “extreme dysfunctional nature of homosexual relationships.”

National Organization for Marriage
Princeton, N.J.

This year, MassResistance called Boston Gay Pride events a “depraved” display that featured “a great deal of obviously disturbed, dysfunctional, and extremely self-centered people whose aim was to push their agenda.”

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which is dedicated to fighting same-sex marriage in state legislatures, was organized in 2007 by conservative syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher and Princeton University politics professor Robert George. George is an influential Christian thinker who co-authored the 2009 “Manhattan Declaration,” a manifesto developed after a New York meeting of conservative church leaders that “promises resistance to the point of civil disobedience against any legislation that might implicate their churches or charities in abortion, embryo-destructive research or same sex marriage.”

NOM’s first public campaign was in 2008, supporting California’s Proposition 8, which sought to invalidate same-sex marriage in that state. It was widely mocked, including in a parody by satirist Stephen Colbert, for the “Gathering Storm” video ad it produced at the time. Set to somber music and a dark and stormy background, the ad had actors expressing fears that gay activism would “take away” their rights, change their lifestyle, and force homosexuality on their kids.

The group, whose president is now former executive director Brian Brown, has become considerably more sophisticated since then, emphasizing its respect for homosexuals. “Gays and Lesbians have a right to live as they choose,” NOM says on its website, “[but] they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.”

For a time, NOM’s name was used by a bus driver named Louis Marinelli, who drove a van for NOM’s “Summer for Marriage Tour” this year. Marinelli called himself a “NOM strategist” and sent out electronic messages under the NOM logo that repeated falsehoods about homosexuals being pedophiles and gay men having extremely short lifespans. In homemade videos posted on his own YouTube page, he said same-sex marriage would lead to “prostitution, pedophilia and polygamy.” But this July, NOM said it was not associated with Marinelli.

*Traditional Values Coalition
Anaheim, Calif.

Former Presbyterian minister Lou Sheldon has been warning Americans about the “gay threat” since 1980, when he founded the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), which also is concerned with abortion and national security and takes on liberal activists on a range of issues. The TVC, which today claims to speak for 43,000 churches, lobbies Congress and also mobilizes churches to oppose legislation that it disagrees with. Sheldon’s daughter Andrea Lafferty, a former Reagan Administration official, serves as executive director of the organization.

The group has at times enjoyed remarkable access to the halls of power — during the George W. Bush Administration, Sheldon and Lafferty visited the White House a combined 69 times, meeting personally with Bush in eight of the visits. But that does not mean that it has not long had a record of extreme gay-bashing.

In 1985, Sheldon suggested forcing AIDS victims into “cities of refuge.” In 1992, columnist Jimmy Breslin said that Sheldon told him that “homosexuals are dangerous. They proselytize. They come to the door, and if your son answers and nobody is there to stop it, they grab the son and run off with him. They steal him. They take him away and turn him into a homosexual.” Sheldon later denied that he made the comments, but his website today includes strikingly similar language: “[S]ince homosexuals can’t reproduce, they will simply go after your children for seduction and conversion to homosexuality.” Elsewhere, it claims that “[t]he effort to push adult/child sex … is part of the overall homosexual movement.”

The TVC also asserts that “it is evident that homosexuals molest children at a far greater rate than do their heterosexual counterparts”  — a falsehood based on conflating male-male molestation with homosexuality. Gays, it says, molest children at “epidemic rates,” adding: “As homosexuals continue to make inroads into public schools, more children will be molested and indoctrinated into the world of homosexuality. Many of them will die in that world.” With regard to LGBT teen suicides, TVC, under the headline “Homosexual Urban Legends,” claims that “[t]he cold, hard fact is that teens who are struggling with homosexual feelings are more likely to be sexually molested by a homosexual school counselor or teacher than to commit suicide over their feelings of despair.”

The TVC also makes assertions on its website about disproportionate homosexual pedophilia and attacks the idea that people are born gay and the claim that gays want the right to marry for the same reasons that heterosexuals do — the TVC suggests the real purpose of marriage equality is to destroy the concept of marriage and ultimately replace it altogether with group sex and polygamy.

Courtesy of  http://splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/winter/the-hard-liners

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US Haitians put hope in prayer, not the ballot box

Posted by faithandthelaw on November 28, 2010

MIAMI (AFP) – A preacher urged people in Miami’s “Little Haiti” to pray for their homeland, claiming only divine intervention, not voting in Sunday’s elections, could solve their country’s myriad problems.

He found fertile ground as he issued loud proclamations in creole, the lingua franca in an enclave in northern Miami which, with 75,000, is home to the largest concentration of Haitian emigrants anywhere in the world.

“We don’t need elections, we need God in Haiti,” said a woman named Giselle, who runs a shop selling herbs, religious images, skulls and a variety of voodoo artifacts.

Haiti’s diaspora held out little hope for change in a country that has defied numerous international attempts to end a cruel cycle of political instability, economic stagnation, and natural disaster.

“I don’t think the elections can change anything in Haiti,” said 25-year-old Joseph Millford as he dropped off his son at the Notre Dame d’Haiti daycare center. “We need a real leader, someone with good heart.”

The next-door church of the same name played a pivotal role in the local community in the days after January’s calamitous earthquake: locals flocked there searching for news of events or loved-ones back home.

The estimated 300,000-strong Haitian community in Florida is concerned with rebuilding after the quake — which killed 250,000 people — and how to cope with a deadly cholera epidemic, but not so much the politicking.

“People have to pray for the end of misfortunes in our country,” said Giselle, as smoke spewed from a pot where worshipers burned incense, stones and herbs.

Voodoo remains an official state religion in Haiti. It is estimated that more than half the population practices elements of it, although it is often followed alongside Catholicism in a rare mixing of the faiths.

More than four million Haitians are eligible to vote in Sunday’s vote to find a successor to President Rene Preval and elect 11 of the country’s 30 senators and all 99 parliamentary deputies.

“They should have postponed the election and put all the forces to control cholera,” said George Mphines, who works at a store that sells phone cards for Miami locals to call Haiti.

Haitian officials have ignored pleas to delay the vote and health experts say holding the polls will have little effect on the spread of cholera, which has claimed more than 1,600 lives in little over a month.

Michel Leonor, who was selling palm tree hats made in Haiti, was more interested in finding customers than in Haitian politics.

“They are hand made, natural, they don’t transmit cholera,” he said, smiling.

Millford was disappointed that ex-Fugees frontman Wyclef Jean — an international pop star who was born in Haiti but now lives in Miami — was ruled ineligible to run.

Wyclef would have been good for the country,” he said.

Millford returned in January after the quake to help relatives. “To me, it’s like a dream thinking that one day I’ll go and see that everything has changed and the country is getting better,” he said.

 Courtesy of http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101126/ts_alt_afp/haitivoteusmiami;_ylt=AlBOuetKOwqSIl9Q3ZmXn.s7Xs8F;_ylu=X3oDMTJuOGVsaHFkBGFzc2V0A2FmcC8yMDEwMTEyNi9oYWl0aXZvdGV1c21pYW1pBHBvcwMxBHNlYwN5bl9wYWdpbmF0ZV9zdW1tYXJ5X2xpc3QEc2xrA3VzaGFpdGlhbnNwdQ

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China and Vatican Fight Over Control of The Church

Posted by faithandthelaw on November 27, 2010

A long-simmering battle between the Vatican and China over  control of the Chinese Catholic Church blew up this week over the creation of a  new Chinese Catholic bishop without the pope’s permission.

The Roman Catholic Church said Beijing forced bishops to participate in  the ordination of Joseph Guo Jincai, while China charged the Vatican with  interfering with religious liberty in China.

Guo was ordained a bishop on Saturday, the Vatican said, calling the  unauthorized act “a grave violation of Catholic discipline.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday that the  Chinese Catholic Church was independent and that any “intervention” constituted  “restriction of freedom and non-tolerance.” 

The Vatican had warned Beijing “several times” this year not to make Guo a bishop, it said.

Going ahead with the ordination anyway “offends the Holy Father, the  Church in China and the universal Church, and further complicates the present  pastoral difficulties,” the Vatican said.

It’s the first time since 2006 that China’s Catholic Church is known to  have anointed bishops without approval from Rome, the Vatican said Thursday.

The Vatican excommunicated the two bishops created in 2006, and Wednesday  threatened to excommunicate both Guo and the bishops who presided over his appointment.

The Chinese government subjected bishops “to pressures and restrictions  on their freedom of movement” to force them to ordain Guo, the Vatican charged  in a statement.

That constitutes a “grave violation of freedom of religion and  conscience,” the statement said.

The Roman Catholic Church and Beijing had been working towards warmer  relations since 2007, the Vatican said.

The United States expressed serious concerned about religious freedom in  China last week in its annual global report on the subject.

Despite some limited praise for Beijing, the State Department listed China as one of eight countries of “particular concern” on religious freedom.

It accused China of persecution followers of the Dalai Lama in Tibet and  Uyghur Muslims in western China.

Only Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, Catholics and Protestants are allowed to practice their religions legally in China, the States Department said.

CNN’s Steven Jiang in Beijing, China, contributed to this report.

Courtesy of http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/11/25/china-and-vatican-fight-over-control-of-church/

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In ‘The War on Christmas,’ Christmas is winning

Posted by faithandthelaw on November 25, 2010

The War on Christmas may be in its final days.

This season, merry Christmas — not happy holidays or season’s greetings — will dominate retailer’s marketing messages. There will be Christmas sales and Christmas trees and Christmas carols galore.

That has the American Family Association, arguably one of the loudest voices advocating the use of Christmas in retailer’s marketing messages over the past few years, predicting that its crusade could conclude in the next year or two.

Randy Sharp, director-special projects at the AFA, said that in the past five years the group has seen the percentage of retailers recognizing Christmas in their advertising rise from 20 percent to 80 percent. Just eight retailers are left on the group’s list of “Companies Against Christmas.”

It’s also become more challenging to find a large, national retailer to single out for the group’s annual boycott. This year, Dick’s Sporting Goods, which boasts an online “Holiday Shop,” will be the target of the boycott. The AFA is expected to send an Action Alert to its 2.3 million supporters on Friday morning. That alert will urge shoppers to boycott Dick’s between now and Dec. 25. It also calls for consumers to e-mail President-Chief Operating Officer Joseph Schmidt and then call Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Hennion. The retailer declined to comment. In the past, Target, Sears, Gap and Walmart have been targets.

Advertising Age: Here comes the Christmas creep

“We’ve had a complete flip,” Mr. Sharp says. “The politically correct holiday verbiage is going away. Companies are getting the message.”

Indeed, retailers that have found themselves the target of boycotts or media and consumer scrutiny have responded swiftly in recent years. Lowe’s “Family Trees” were renamed “Christmas Trees,” while Walmart’s “Holiday Shop” is now a “Christmas Shop.” Midway through the 2005 holiday season, Target, facing a boycott, announced its advertising messages would become more specific and include references to Christmas. And last year, Gap responded to a boycott by issuing a press release highlighting the use of the phrase “Merry Christmas” in its upcoming Old Navy ads.

Mr. Sharp stopped short of saying that he was surprised by how quickly and readily most retailers have changed their marketing. But he did point out that, especially in this type of economic environment, retailers are being careful not to alienate customers.

“Shoppers vote with their wallets every day,” said Ellen Davis, a VP at the National Retail Federation. “[When it comes to boycotts,] retailers realize, ‘It could just as easily have been us.’ ”

Advertising Age: Royal wedding promises to be boon to British economy

The NRF does not formally advise retailers on whether they should use the word Christmas, but Ms. Davis said it does provide statistics. This year’s NRF/BigResearch survey found that 91 percent of consumers plan to celebrate Christmas, compared with 5% for Hanukkah and 2% for Kwanzaa.

“Retailers dipped their toe into the Christmas waters again last year, and there wasn’t much push back. There wasn’t a huge outcry from groups offended that retailers were saying Merry Christmas,” said Ms. Davis. “We see the word Christmas being used much more this year than three or four years ago. The pendulum seems to have swung back.”

The “extreme backlash” to generic holiday messaging likely caught retailers off guard in years past, Ms. Davis added. Now, phrasing around the holidays is much more strategic. “At this point, it’s a conscious decision. It’s not just whimsical phrases being tossed around in the marketing department,” she said. “These are conversations that are now probably taking place in the C-Suite.”

Retailers certainly tread carefully when it comes to the subject of Christmas. Major retailers such as JCPenney and Target said they don’t have formal policies on in-store greetings. And retailers ranging from Gap to Macy’s and RadioShack to Sears emphasized their inclusion and respect for shoppers of different beliefs, while noting that at least some of their marketing messages include the word Christmas. RadioShack, however, still appears on the AFA’s list of “Companies Against Christmas.” A RadioShack spokesman declined to comment on that distinction.

Advertising Age: Top tech trends for this year’s retail season

Plenty view the tactics of the AFA and other groups as bullying, but Mr. Sharp rejects that. “It’s not bullying, it’s consumer advocacy,” he said. The AFA’s stance is that retailers should not profit from Christmas, if they refuse to clearly acknowledge it. “When your advertising has trees and ornaments and gift wrapping, you’re advertising Christmas, so don’t call it holiday,” Mr. Sharp said, adding that the group is not at all offended by Happy Hanukkah messages.

© 2010 Advertising Age

Courtesy of http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40260889/ns/business-consumer_news

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Montana Supreme Court: Censoring Student’s ‘God’ Speech Is Unconstitutional

Posted by faithandthelaw on November 24, 2010

The Montana Supreme Court on Friday ruled 6-1 in favor of a valedictorian who was barred from mentioning God or Christ in her graduation speech.

The school district in Yellowstone County violated Renee Griffith’s constitutional right to free speech, the high court ruled.

“We find it unreasonable for the School District to conclude that Griffith’s cursory references to her personal religious beliefs could be viewed by those in attendance at the BHS (Butte School District) graduation ceremony as a religious endorsement by the School District,” Justice Patricia O’Brien Cotter wrote in the opinion.

The decision reverses a lower court’s ruling that the school district’s practice of excluding expression of personal religious views in student speeches was a reasonable basis for its action against Griffith.

Griffith, one of the ten valedictorians in the class of 2008, was scheduled to deliver a speech jointly with another student at the 2008 graduation ceremony. Part of her prepared remarks included: “I didn’t let fear keep me from sharing Christ and His joy with those around me. I learned to impart hope, to encourage people to treat each day as a gift. I learned not to be known for my grades or for what I did during school, but for being committed to my faith and morals and being someone who lived with a purpose from God with a passionate love for Him.”

The valedictorian was told that religious references were not permitted in graduation speeches and that she had to omit references to “God” and “Christ” in her speech. Griffith refused to do so, saying that she could not accurately convey her high school experience without mentioning these motivations for her accomplishments, actions, and life purpose.

She was offered an alternative – to change the “God” and “Christ” references to “faith.”

Again, Griffith refused the changes. As a result, she was pulled from delivering the valedictory speech.

The student filed a complaint with the Montana Human Rights Bureau shortly thereafter, alleging discrimination against her on the basis of religion. The complaint was dismissed.

She then filed a complaint in the Thirteenth Judicial District, claiming that the school district violated her state and federal constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of religion. The court, however, ruled that the district’s decision prohibiting Griffith from speaking did not violate the First Amendment.

She appealed.

The high court ruled that the school district violated its own written policies of non-censorship. One of the policies states that “the school administration shall not censor any presentation or require any content” and that students who are selected to speak may choose to deliver “an address, poem, reading, song, musical presentation, prayer or any other pronouncement of their choosing.”

“We hold that the School District violated Griffith’s right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution when it impermissibly censored the content of her valedictory speech based on the viewpoint she expressed,” the court concluded.

Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/article/20101122/censoring-valedictorianschristspeech-is-unconstitutional-courtrules/

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Catholic nurse can’t sue hospital that forced her to assist abortion: court

Posted by faithandthelaw on November 24, 2010

November 23, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Today the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Catholic nurse who was forced by a New York hospital to participate in an abortion does not have the right to sue her employer.

Administrators at Mt. Sinai Hospital had threatened Catherine DeCarlo with disciplinary measures in May 2009 if she did not honor a last-minute summons to assist in a scheduled late-term abortion. The hospital insisted on her participation in the procedure on the grounds that it was an “emergency.”

Lawyers for DeCarlo, however, have pointed out that the procedure was not classified by the hospital as an emergency, and the patient was apparently not in crisis at the time of the surgery.

DeCarlo claims that her participation in the abortion led to serious emotional trauma. She also claims that hospital administrators later attempted to coerce her into signing an agreement to participate in abortions in the future.

The hospital had reportedly known of the Catholic nurse’s religious objections to abortion since 2004.

Alliance Defence Fund (ADF) attorneys had filed two suits in the case – one federal, filed in July 2009, and another state, filed earlier this year. The federal suit claimed that Mt. Sinai ignored federal laws prohibiting coercion while receiving hundred of millions of dollars in federal funding.

In January the case was dismissed by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, at which point it was appealed to the Second Circuit.

However, in today’s ruling the court found that there is no right to private action or private remedy under the statue cited by DeCarlo in her suit – the so-called “Church Amendment.”  (Read the decision here.)

That amendment protects health care workers working for federally-funded entities from being discriminated against because they refused to perform abortions on religious or conscience grounds.

In May Americans United for Life (AUL) had filed an amicus brief in support of DeCarlo on behalf of the National Association of Prolife Nurses, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Physicians for Life, Christian Medical & Dental Associations, and the Catholic Medical Association. According to AUL staffer Mailee Smith the groups represent over 19,000 health care professionals.

Courtesy of http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-nurse-cant-sue-hospital-that-forced-her-to-assist-abortion-court/

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Secular Humanism as Religious as Christianity, Argues Scholar

Posted by faithandthelaw on November 24, 2010

Despite its anti-religious stance and lack of a theistic belief, Secular Humanism is a religion just as Christianity is one, argued a Christian scholar.

David Noebel, president of Summit Ministries, drew from his book, Clergy in the Classroom: The Religion of Secular Humanism, to discuss some of the parallels between the two religions while addressing students at The King’s College in New York City on Thursday.

After all, one doesn’t have to look far to see resemblances, according to the Christian scholar, who was invited to speak as part of the school’s Distinguished Visitor Series. The interview was conducted by Dr. Marvin Olasky, Provost of The King’s College and editor-in-chief of World magazine.

For starters, Christianity has the Christian Ichthys as one of its religious symbols while Secular Humanism has a developing religious symbol: the Darwin Fish. And like Christianity, Secular Humanism has clergy members that perform social ceremonies and preach a faith that is just as dogmatic: theological atheism, naturalism, spontaneous generation, and moral relativism, among other beliefs, Noebel points out in his book.

The author also references in his book the 1943 decision by the Second Circuit to grant conscientious objector status to Mathias Kauten, not on the basis of his belief in God, but on the basis of his “religious conscience.”

“Secular Humanism is a religion. It’s just as religious as all the other religions in the world,” Noebel asserted to students.

“Now, they deny it to the last drop only because they were caught. They caught themselves on conscientious objectors so they had to declare themselves somewhat of a religion.”

Secular Humanism is among the worldviews taught at one of Summit’s Student Worldview Conferences, a two-week program that teaches young evangelical Christians how to defend their faith and Christian worldview against major competing worldviews.

Noebel founded the ministry 48 years ago to equip Christian students entering secular colleges and universities. He said at least 30,000 people have been through Summit’s programs even though for years many people told him young Christians would never be interested in studying the Christian worldview.

Though earlier programs taught on fewer worldviews, the current curriculum at Summit teaches six worldviews. The latest edition of “Understanding the Times,” the textbook used in Summit’s young adult program, compares biblical Christianity against Islam, Secular Humanism, Marxist-Leninism (or Communism), Cosmic Humanism (or New Age), and Post-Modernism.

In the textbook, Noebel reviews the six worldviews by examining their positions in ten different categories, including theology, philosophy, ethics, biology, political, psychology, sociology, law, politics, economics and history.

“The heart of the Christian worldview is that Christ is the key,” he said. “Christ is the foundation stone of all these areas and we tie him into how he influences all these areas.”

Noebel noted that while the worldviews associated with Christianity and Islam have the largest number of adherents, it is Secular Humanism that has caused more Christians to walk away from their faith.

He attributed the trend to the dominance of secular humanist ideas and teachings in public schools, saying secular humanists “run” the public school system from elementary school to graduate schools.

“Out of Secular Humanism, the one big appeal has always been Darwinism,” he said. “More Christians have probably stumbled in their faith over Charles Darwin than just about anyone else, more than Karl Marx.”

Concluding his talk, Noebel urged students to study the worldviews in order to be effective witnesses for Christ to a generation that is undergoing severe secularization.

“They should know them inside and out because they are going to live it – this generation for sure.”

“We have a responsibility to our generation,” he added. “We fulfill that responsibility the best we know how and the rest is up to God.”

Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/article/20101119/secular-humanism-as-religious-as-christianity-argues-scholar/

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America: Is it Time to Be Consumed with God?

Posted by faithandthelaw on November 23, 2010

By Tim Rowe

Are you consumed with God? What an intriguing and life-changing question! Or is God just another contact in your Rolodex of life that you mean to catch up with and try to fit Him in your schedule, but the busyness of life has just swept away this opportunity. It is unfortunate to say, but most of us are more consumed with our grocery list than we are with God. God has pressed this question into the very fiber of my soul, and as I examined my life with an open and honest eye I would have to say I have fallen woefully short of being consumed with God. We are consumed with our television shows, consumed with our music, consumed with our movies, consumed with our schedules, consumed with our careers, consumed with our education, consumed with our politics, consumed with our family, consumed with our health, consumed with our success but how many of us are consumed with God? We are just too busy for our Creator and would rather spend time at a Starbucks with some latte rather than in the throne room of the living God becoming intimate and acquainted with God Almighty. 

Just think of all the people we would offend if we were consumed with God! We would be labeled a wacko, a religious nut, an intolerant fool, a misguided idiot and an unenlightened, dogmatic jerk if we dared to be consumed with God.  We have so “evolved” in culture, science and behavior that we just don’t need to be consumed with God anymore or so we are told. Who needs God anymore as long as I have my iPod? Who needs God when I have the world at my fingertips from my computer in my cozy house? Who needs God when I have Netflix, iTunes, DroidX and Xbox? Who needs God when I can TiVo? God has to be more than just on our mailing list. God has to be more than just on our wish list. God has to be a living, burning fire in the depths of our heart. God has to be more alive, more real, more present, more close and more looked to than any earthly thing. An electronic device may fascinate you for a moment, but it can never bring you peace, love, joy or true satisfaction. It is a sad characteristic to this “enlightened” world that God is so dead in the hearts of people.  

We have a whole religious culture in society today, but God is most often a million miles away as its heartbeat long ago quit being synchronized to the heartbeat of God. Unfortunately there is no place where God may be deader than in the church. We rationalize that we go to church for 60 minutes a week and offer sporadic thirty-second prayers to God throughout the week and that is enough as I just have too many other things going on. My schedule is packed. I am overwhelmed with everything I HAVE to do. You just don’t understand. 

It is sad to say that there are Ten Thousand and Eighty (10,080) minutes in a week and Five Hundred Twenty Four Thousand One Hundred and Sixty (524,160) minutes in a year and we think we are doing God a favor if we spend sixty minutes of the over ten thousand minutes a week for Him or three thousand minutes a year of the over half a million available. Wow we are spending one half of one percent of our time with God, and we wonder why spiritual anemia and lack are rampant in our lives. We wonder why God is just not all that real to us and why we are so lacking of the demonstration of the power of God in our lives. We wonder why our heart is dead to God. 

God must become more to us then a fleeting thought or a desperate prayer when we are in trouble. God must become our life. God must become our passion. God must become what we chase after with an unrelenting tenacity of heart and soul. I dare you to be consumed with God and see how God will move to transform your life into the realm of the miraculous, the amazing and the extraordinary. Nothing compares to God, absolutely nothing. Nothing is more satisfying than Jesus Christ. We have settled for second best. We have been consumed with the counterfeit, the second-rate, the cheap thrill and the moment of glory.  We love to have our senses tickled with the latest fad. All the while God is crying out like in Isaiah 65 (Message Bible): 

“I’ve made myself available to those who haven’t bothered to ask.
I’m here, ready to be found
   by those who haven’t bothered to look.
I kept saying ‘I’m here, I’m right here’   to a nation that ignored me.
I reached out day after day to a people who turned their backs on me,
People who make wrong turns,  who insist on doing things their own way.” 
 

How long can a nation afford to ignore Him? Isn’t it about time that we seek God with our whole heart and find Him? He has and always will be right there with His arms stretched out towards us. He always invites us to come and turn to Him and experience life, joy and peace in a new dimension far above the glitter of the world. What is holding us back? What is preventing us from being consumed with God?                                      

Do you know that God is consumed with you? Do you know that God thinks about you all the time? Do you know that God’s love for you is immeasurable and unfathomable and to such a degree that it transcends human understanding? Do you know that God longs for you to fall into His embrace and to cleave unto Him with all your heart and strength? Do you know that God wants to be wanted by you, He wants to be loved, He wants to be cherished, He wants to be adored, He wants to be treasured, and He wants to be worshipped?  The Psalmist says that God’s thoughts toward us are so many and so wonderful that they cannot be numbered. 

God has always loved you no matter what you have done. God has always been there even in your darkest hour even though you may not have ever realized it. God will never give up on you for He is a loving God and not just a fickle person (Hosea 11). God will never quit chasing you for His love for you burns deep and true. God is pleading to you, please let me be your God, your everything, your reason for breathing and let me bear my mighty arm for you and show you my goodness and glory. God has never forgotten you, not ever, not even for a second. Don’t you want to know this God? 

Are you desperate for God or does God only enter the picture when you are on your last rope with nowhere else to turn? Do we place God on shelf only to take Him off the shelf when we have tried everything else? Do we realize deep inside of every man and woman is the intense desire to know His Creator because we were all made in the image of God. This hunger is never satisfied by things or people or addictions or success, but can only be quenched by an intimate relationship with God Almighty. Is your love for God all-consuming or as affectionate as a peck on the cheek? Have we allowed the routine of life to replace the adventure of knowing the only true God whose love is boundless, whose mercy is everlasting and whose grace is abundant? Are we too busy, to tired or just too lazy to spend time with God daily? Do we run to do everything else first before we even consider time with God?  

Do you know God gave everything so you could be brought as an honored son or daughter into the family of God? Would you give all you have to Him without reservation as act of devoted love? Let us cry out like Job “My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you!” Do you long to experience God on a deeper level? Do you long to enjoy God in all the richness of everything He is? Why not be consumed with God? You will never be disappointed from now throughout all eternity. He is calling you now to come to Him and experience the healing wholeness and deliverance that is available in His Son Jesus Christ. He crushed all captivity, sin and bondage and paid the ultimate price so we might live. Doesn’t he deserve everything? Doesn’t He merit all our passion, all our love, all our devotion, all our worship, all our priorities, and all our heart? How we could advance the kingdom of God if we were consumed with God! Do you dare to take God at His Word and be consumed with Him? Your life will never be the same and the lives of all those around you. It is time to take the leap. We have nothing to lose. Let’s be consumed with God from this moment forward. Let us cry out like David with a yearning heart:                                   

Psalm 65:1-8 (NIV): 

 1 You, God, are my God,
   earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
   my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
   where there is no water.

 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
   and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
   my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
   and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
   with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

 6 On my bed I remember you;
   I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
   I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
   your right hand upholds me.

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U.N. Anti-Blasphemy Proposal Meets Firm Resistance

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on November 22, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Open Doors are just some of the people and groups that have publicly denounced the proposed U.N. anti-blasphemy resolution that is expected to be voted on next week.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which sponsored the draft resolution, recently changed the term from “defamation of religions” to “vilification of religions.” But USCIRF chair Leonard Leo said the change is minor and “a distinction without a difference.”

“Having lost support on this issue over the past few years, the OIC is now trying to fool delegations into believing that the resolution has improved when it has not,” said Leo in a statement Thursday. “It … still erroneously conflates blasphemy or criticism of religious ideas with incitement to acts of discrimination or violence against individuals.”

Critics of the resolution compare it to a global anti-blasphemy law. They point to countries like Pakistan, where a Christian woman was recently given the death sentence for alleged blasphemy against the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, as example of how such laws are regularly grossly abused to target religious minorities.

Since 1999, the Organization of the Islamic Conference has annually sponsored the resolution and the U.N. has adopted a non-binding anti-defamation of religion resolution every year since 2005.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly opposed the resolution during a press conference to announce the release of the annual State Department report on religious freedom around the world. She said the United States does not agree that protecting religious freedom means banning speech critical or offensive about religion.

“The United States joins in all nations coming together to condemn hateful speech, but we do not support the banning of that speech,” said Clinton. “Indeed, freedom of speech and freedom of religion emanate from the same fundamental belief that communities and individuals are enriched and strengthened by diversity of ideas, and attempts to stifle them or drive them underground, even when it is in the name and with the intention of protecting society, have the opposite effect.”

Open Doors, a ministry advocating on behalf of persecuted Christians worldwide, has been actively lobbying U.N. delegates to vote against the resolution. More than 200,000 Open Doors supporters worldwide have voiced opposition to the Defamation of Religions Resolution.

“It is incredibly sad and ironic that Pakistan has sentenced a Christian woman to death by hanging just days before a vote on the resolution at the United Nations that many countries are backing to purportedly protect religious freedom,” remarked Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. “This sentencing should alert countries and individuals to the serious consequences of passing this resolution.”

The U.N. General Assembly’s Third Committee is expected to carry out a preliminary vote on Nov. 22 or 23. A final vote of the full General Assembly is expected in December.

On the Web: http://www.freetobelieve.info/ 

Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/article/20101120/un-anti-blasphemy-proposal-meets-firm-resistance/

Posted in Attack on Christianity, Faith Issues in Our Times, Hot Legal News, Religious Freedom | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »